Democratic defections on the rise

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


While Donald Trump and Hunter Biden continue dominating the headlines, Americans may have missed another newsworthy item: There has been a noticeable uptick in the number of Democrats defecting to the Republican Party.

Among the more recent Democratically departed is Kleberg County Attorney Kira Talip Sanchez, who confirmed over the weekend that she switched over to the Republican Party due to frustration over the border crisis and her party’s ineffective response.

“There is an unprecedented crisis at our Southern Border. I believe that the GOP’s policies of law and order protecting safety and backing the blue best align with my values and the values of the citizens of Kleberg County,” Sanchez told Fox News Digital

Meanwhile, Democratic legislators in several states have been abandoning the party to join the GOP, in many cases resulting in major political realignments.

Party switching, for example, gave Louisiana Republicans a two-thirds majority in both houses of the state legislature and resulted in a 90% majority in West Virginia’s House of Delegates.


First-term West Virginia Del. Elliott Pritt, who announced his switch from Democrat to Republican in April, cited his former party’s inability to accomplish meaningful policy goals in his decision.

“Even if I were to run again and win, I would look at another term of never getting another bill passed, never getting anything done,” Pritt said in remarks carried by Politico. “For the time I’m going to be there, I’m not going to sit there and be a lame duck and not get anything.”

That same month, Democrat-turned-Republican North Carolina State Rep. Tricia Cotham announced that “[t]he modern-day Democratic Party has become unrecognizable to me.” Her defection – slammed by Democrats as a “betrayal” – gave the GOP a two-thirds majority in both houses of the North Carolina state legislature, essentially mooting Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto power.

Cotham’s remarks are representative of a growing number of centrist Democrats who have been frustrated by the party’s leftward lurch. 

Former Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones famously declared in 2020: “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The party left me.”


William Galson, senior fellow of governance studies at the Brookings Institute, posited a different theory, suggesting that a spike in party transitions is the inevitable byproduct of today’s increasingly polarizing political climate.  

“In recent decades, the red states have become redder, the blue states bluer and the number of swing states has fallen dramatically,” Galston told Politico. “When this happens, the minority parties lose power in the legislature, and the advantages of being in the majority increase.”

Georgia Rep. Mesha Mainor, a Democrat who became a Republican in July, said that the primary motivation for her decision to make the switch was the fact that it was her Republican colleagues – not Democrats – who supported her initiatives to establish a workforce development authority in black communities and support HBCUs.

Mainor, who is black, said that her fellow Democrats “tried to tear down” her work. She also sided with Republicans in voting for school vouchers and going after “rogue” prosecutors.

Louisiana Republican State Rep. Francis Thompson, 81, may have the distinction of being the longest-serving elected Democrat to switch parties. Thompson, who clocked in nearly half a century as a Democratic lawmaker before changing sides, said that the values of today’s Democratic party no longer align with his own.

“The push the past several years by Democratic leadership on both the national and state level to support certain issues does not align with those values and principles that are part of my Christian life,” Thompson told WAFB News at the time.

According to Ballotpedia research, among the 173 state lawmakers who have switched parties mid-term since 1994, 83 were Democrats who moved to the Republican party. By comparison, 23 GOP lawmakers switched to the Democratic party in the same time period.

This article was partially informed by a Daily Caller report.